I skipped out of work early today to come home and nap -- the bug that's been going around caught up with me, and I've got that heavy-limbed, fuzzy-headed, dizzy, nauseated, generally charming thing going on.
But that's not the only reason I'm light-headed.
I'm going to Portland!
I've been hearing about the ABA's Winter Institute since this time last year. It sounded odd at first -- like BEA, but without the sales floor: just pure programming for booksellers. But the booksellers who went to the first one in Long Beach came back singing its praises, saying they learned more practical stuff about running a bookstore, and had a better time meeting authors and each other, than at any other event ever.
So yeah, I wanted to go to the Institute in Portland, Oregon this year, especially when I checked out the session lineup. Financial documents! Store design! Magazine selling! New media! Not to mention the author events, and the chance to hobnob with other dedicated booksellers -- candy for a book nerd like me. But the bookstore couldn't afford to send me (and most of these are skills I'd be putting to use in my own future bookstore, not necessarily in my current job), and I couldn't see a way to swing that airfare myself, despite the admonitions of fellow booksellers and other advisors that I needed this education.
Then I heard about the Emerging Leaders scholarship, and thought I'd better give it a try. I didn't think I had much of a shot -- I've been in the business for a number of years now so there are probably folks who are more "emerging" than me, and since I won a scholarship to the NAIBA trade show several years ago I figured my karma was fresh out of scholarships. But I wrote my essay and I sent it off.
Yesterday afternoon, Len Vlahos (one of my favorite people at the ABA) called for me at the store and broke the news. The Emerging Leaders committee gave me the scholarship. They're flying me out and putting me up. I'm afraid I got all high-pitched on poor Len -- he really did make my day.
Thank you so much to the founders of the Emerging Leaders Group -- Julia Colishaw (Shaman Drum Bookstore), Cindy Dach (Changing Hands Bookstore), Allison Hill (Vroman's Bookstore), and Neil Strandberg (Tattered Cover Bookstore). This means so very much to me, and I can't wait to see you all in Portland.
Now, the ALP is making something that smells delicious for dinner, so I'm going to pull my bathrobe around me and shuffle off. But you'll know that dreamy smile on my face isn't just the fever talking.